Enterprise Allowances

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The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) 2018-2022 is funded by the Irish Government through the Department of Rural and Community Development and co-funded by the European Social Fund under the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014-2020.

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance and Short Term Enterprise Allowance

SKDP administers these two schemes together with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) and they’re designed to encourage eligible candidates to set up a new business by offering various benefits to them.

What is the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance? (BTWEA)

The BTWEA scheme encourages people getting certain social welfare payments to become self employed.  If you take part in this scheme, you can keep a percentage of your social welfare payment for up to two years.

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance is payable to people aged under 66.

Who can Qualify for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance?

You qualify for this scheme if you are setting up as self-employed in a new business that has been approved (in advance, in writing) by a DEASP Case Officer and a Local Development Company such as South Kerry Development Partnership.


Getting Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB) or Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) continuously for at least 9 months (234 days).  If you have been getting either of these payments continuously for 12 months (312 days) immediately before BTWEA, you can have a maximum of 30 days off the Live Register during this time


Getting one of the qualifying payments below continuously for at least 9 months


  • Qualifying from Illness Benefit: 3 out of last 5 years in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment


  • Combination of OFP/JST/JA continuously for 9 months
What are the Benefits of this Scheme?
The amount of time you can participate on the Back To Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) is 2 years. You will receive 100% of your payment for the first year, and 75% for the second year. If you have previously participated in the scheme and exhausted your entitlement, you can participate a second time after a period of at least 5 years has elapsed. Back to Work Enterprise Allowance is not taxable.
What is Short-Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA)?

The Short-Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA) gives support to people who have lost their job and want to start their own business.

To qualify, you must be getting Jobseeker’s Benefit. There is no qualifying period, which means you do not need to have been getting Jobseekers Benefit for a certain period of time. However, you will not qualify if you are getting Jobseeker’s Benefit and working part-time.

The Short-Term Enterprise Allowance is paid instead of your Jobseeker’s Benefit for a maximum of 9 months. It ends when your entitlement to Jobseeker’s Benefit ends (that is at either 6 or 9 months).

Who can Qualify for Short Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA)?
You will qualify for the Short Term Enterprise Allowance if you have an entitlement to Jobseeker’s Benefit. To be eligible, applicants must satisfy the following conditions:

  • Be awarded Jobseeker’s Benefit
  • Be in a position to start up a viable business as a self-employed person
  • Eligible applicants must satisfy the following conditions
  • Have made applications for Short Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA) before engaging in self-employment
  • Be in receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit
  • Obtain written approval from their local Partnership company in advance of engaging in self employment that is full time in nature.
What are the Benefits of this Scheme?

The Allowance will be paid for a maximum of 9 months.
It will end when your entitlement to Job Benefit ends.
If you are already on Job Benefit, you will only receive the Short Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA) for the remaining time you have left on Job Benefit.

Mentoring for these Schemes
As part of the Conditions of these Schemes you would be required to meet with our Book Keeper.
This service is free of charge.
It is imperative that you attend this session as you will need to keep records and later do your return for Revenue.

Various enterprise courses such as the Start Your Own Business Course / Entrepreneur Mind-set courses are also available free of charge throughout the year. In order to access either the STEA / BTWEA completion of the Start Your Own Business Course is a requirement.

For further information please speak with your local Enterprise Officer

Who do I contact in SKDP to talk about these Schemes?

Enterprise Officers

Joanne Griffin (Killorglin & Kenmare Area)


[email protected]

Clare O’Shea (Kenmare and Cahersiveen)

087 3567874

[email protected]

Application forms

Application forms can be downloaded from the DEASP website, links beneath

BTWEA form is known as BTW 2

STEA form is known as STEA 1

Starting a Business Plan

What is the purpose of a Business Plan?

  • Maintain business focus
  • Secure outside financing
  • Fuel ambitions and map growth

This short video covers the basics of Business Plans and is essential viewing!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PL2te2gx2Xs

What are the benefits of a Business Plan?

  • Connects the dots in your business so you can see the whole picture
  • Strategic focus
  • Set priorities
  • Manage change
  • Develop accountability
  • Manage cash
  • Strategic alignment
  • Milestones

Business Plan Template

While there are many options and templates to help you create your first plan, for the purposes of this Scheme, this standard document needs to be completed:

Business Plan for BTWEA candidates

Make a copy of this for yourself and take a look at the main sections to see what is required from you, but speak to your Enterprise Officer before completing it in detail.

Further Reading

Take a look at some case studies to get inspiration and to see the range of possibilities open to you.
Then take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of becoming-self-employed.